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Russian Roulette: International Oil Company Risk in the Russian Arctic

Russian Roulette: International Oil Company Risk in the Russian Arctic

International Oil Companies (IOCs) face pressure from investors to achieve a positive reserves replacement ratio. With governments around the world increasingly asserting control over natural resources in their territory, as well as conventional oil reserves dwindling, the Arctic is one of the frontier areas targeted by IOCs. In Russia, IOCs have entered a number of...
Shell and Gazprom sign more documents on Arctic tie-up

Shell and Gazprom sign more documents on Arctic tie-up

Gazprom and Shell signed a new agreement today, under the eyes of Vladimir Putin on his trade mission to Europe. The agreement has been in discussion for a few years; at one point a BP-and-Rosneft style share swap was discussed, but the two companies appear to have settled for a Joint Venture. Together they’ll extract...
Shell suspends Arctic drilling for 2013

Shell suspends Arctic drilling for 2013

We’re celebrating Shell’s announcement that the drilling programme in the Alaskan Arctic has been halted for the year! Here are a few perspectives on why this has happened and what’s going to happen next… 1) Company public relations describe this as an effort to ensure the drilling is safe: “Shell remains committed to building an...
Oil company mega-profits and the dwindling public purse

Oil company mega-profits and the dwindling public purse

Yesterday, The Observer ran a story about George Osborne promising to crack down on multinationals avoiding tax in some of the world’s poorest countries. Anger over corporate tax avoidance at a time of massive cuts 
to public spending has placed the issue on the political agenda, especially since widespread popular protest sparked by UK Uncut. The money...
Sticky future of Arctic oil - talk at Visionary Arctic seminar

Sticky future of Arctic oil – talk at Visionary Arctic seminar

Nearly one and a half years ago, we went on an incredible journey to Kirkenes in the North of Norway, on the invitation of Pikene på Broen (Women on the Bridge), organisers of the annual regional Barents Spektakel arts festival. For the 2013 festival Pikene invited us to speak at their Visionary Arctic seminar, amongst a...
Another storm for Shell highlights risks in financing Arctic oil & gas exploitation

Another storm for Shell highlights risks in financing Arctic oil & gas exploitation

On Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year when in southern Alaska there’s only a dull half-light for a handful of hours, Shell’s immense drilling rig Kulluk was dragged out to sea from Dutch Harbour, bound for the port of Seattle. This 28,000 tonne machine was being pulled past the Aleutian Islands though worsening...
Repeated Misadventures: Key questions for Shell on its Alaskan Arctic programme

Repeated Misadventures: Key questions for Shell on its Alaskan Arctic programme

On 8th January 2013, the U.S. Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, announced a review of the 2012 Alaskan Arctic offshore drilling programme “to review practices and identify challenges as well as lessons learned.” The review to be completed within 60 days will focus on the successive setbacks encountered by Shell during 2012. These include its failure...
'No more money for arms deals' - but what about fossil fuels?

‘No more money for arms deals’ – but what about fossil fuels?

Last week, a cross-party inquiry called for Parliament to review the use of public money to support arms exports. The all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on international corporate responsibility said Parliament should debate introducing a ‘prohibition list’ of projects that the Government refuses to underwrite. They suggested arms sales should be at the top of it....
New film 'Chasing Ice' comes to the UK

New film ‘Chasing Ice’ comes to the UK

A guest post by Dogwoof Films. Climate change is getting closer. Natural disasters are no longer apparently restricted to distant third world countries that we in west can sympathise with in the abstract. The recent experiences of Hurricane Sandy on the east coast of the United States and the devastating flooding around the UK act...
The Russian roulette: Rosneft, BP, and the unknowns of Russian politics

The Russian roulette: Rosneft, BP, and the unknowns of Russian politics

TNK-BP, the British giant’s 50% joint venture with a group of Russian oligarchs, was bringing in about quarter of the firm’s production, and a lot of its political problems. BP’s solution: swap its shares in TNK-BP for cash and a near 20% stake in Rosneft, Russian state-owned company run by Igor Sechin, one of Vladimir...
Russian Roulette - the BP and Rosneft deal

Russian Roulette – the BP and Rosneft deal

On 22nd October BP plc announced it had agreed heads of terms to sell its 50% stake in TNK-BP to Rosneft. BP’s official announcement of the proposed deal refers to Rosneft’s 2011 oil reserve replacement ratio of 127% and dividend of 25% of IFRS net income. However, there are a number of areas of concern...
Shell Classic International: A musical mask and a social licence

Shell Classic International: A musical mask and a social licence

A guest post from musician Chris Garrard. Tonight, the new season of the Shell Classic International concert series will open at the Southbank. The first piece of this first concert is Benajmin Britten’s ‘plea for peace’, the Sinfonia da Requiem. The unpleasant irony is that Shell, the sponsor of these concerts, have now spent in...